Five Favorite Middle Grade Books + Giveaway

Posted April 8, 2020 by shooting in Discussion, Giveaway / 35 Comments

*sponsored post, with a copy of the book, provided by The Children’s Book Review and HarperCollins; all opinions are still my own* 

Five Favorite Middle Grade Books

I’m a huge fan of middle grade novels, even though I’m way beyond that age range. I think they just keep getting better and better, tackling difficult topics and including a lot more diverse characters. In honor of the Hello, Universe blog tour, I wanted to share my five favorite middle grade book recommendations. Since I couldn’t possibly label them 1 to 5, I’m going to put them in alphabetical order based on the book title.

One: George by Alex Gino

George is a girl, but when people look at her, they see a boy. I thought this novel about a young transgender girl was so well done when I read it. I love that LGBT+ issues are showing up more and more in MG fiction, because these topics don’t just magically come up when a person hits their teens. This is a great book about being yourself and fighting to make sure that everyone has that right.

Two: Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly 

Hello, Universe is a quiet little book. I really loved that the book shows the perspective of all the middle school characters – there are four. The main one is definitely Virgil though, and then Valencia. I love that this book is full of diversity and it just encompasses the whole story. For example, Virgil is half-Filipino and the book has a lot of “folk tales” that his grandmother or Lola (who lives with him) has told him over the years. These are essentially guidelines for how to live life. Also, Valencia is deaf, and she has hearing aids. She can figure out what people are saying most of the time with her hearing aids and by reading lips, but I loved how the author helps readers understand what it means to be deaf and how different people handle or react to it.

Three: Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

This MG novel is written in verse, and it’s just so well done. Hà has lived in Saigon her whole life – 10 years – and now her family has immigrated to Alabama because of the Vietnam War. Again, this is another novel that deals with big, diverse topics and makes it easy to relate to for a younger audience. I thought the verse was done really well, and I love that this is a historical fiction novel that still has a lot of impact in today’s times. It shows readers an almost personal example of what it means to be an immigrant. The author herself was born in Vietnam and moved to Alabama, so it’s coming from a very real place.

Four: Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake 

I absolutely adored Ivy Aberdeen. When a tornado demolishes her house, Ivy’s world is turned upside down. This book deals with issues of being misplaced and learning to connect with family. I love that throughout the book, Ivy is also grappling with her attraction to other girls. Middle grade books can do wonders for younger kids questioning their sexuality, because it doesn’t focus on the sexual aspect of attraction, but more of the emotional feelings.

Five: Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

This is the oldest book on my list, and it’s one that I read when I was the target age. I think it still holds up well, especially since it’s a historical fiction about a young girl Annemarie and her best friend Ellen. The book takes place in 1943, and Annemarie’s family pretends that Ellen is their other daughter in order to hide her from the Nazis taking over Denmark. This book is all about bravery, and how it doesn’t mean you aren’t scared. It’s acts of heroism, big and small. It was a favorite of mine as a kid, and it’s still one that I love.


Giveaway Time!

Enter for a chance to win a copy of Erin Entrada Kelly’s Hello, Universe!

Ten (10) winners receive:

A paperback copy of Hello, Universe

Giveaway begins April 7, 2020, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends April 21, 2020, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, who are eighteen years of age or older in their state or territory of residence at the time of entry. Void where prohibited by law.

HarperCollins is responsible for prize fulfillment.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

35 responses to “Five Favorite Middle Grade Books + Giveaway

  1. susan

    It is such a challenge finding appropriate books for my middle schooler. These would be of tremendous help to add to our home library!

  2. Middle grade is one category of books I’ve not really read. This is partially because I’m well past the age of reading them, but also it’s daunting to even know where to start. I’ve seen plenty of bloggers singing the praises of MG books but I’m just lost. Hello Universe sounds like a lovely book. It’s great to see that diversity can be seen in all books and that there is no fear to explore bigger issues even when the target audience is a bit younger.

    • shooting

      I love that MG has really started exploring bigger issues as well. And I hope you find a good MG book to read someday.

  3. Goodness these all sound like better reads than some of the latest books I’ve picked up. Maybe I should read some middle grade books instead of novels for grownups, ha!

  4. I loved George and I really want to read Inside Out and Back Again (I recently bought it from Book Outlet). Thanks for the chance to win Hello, Universe—it’s a fantastic book, and if I won it I’d be giving it to Bernie’s Book Bank when they’re accepting books again. They can never seem to get enough middle grade books!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction recently posted: My Teenagers Are Reading Again and My Heart Has Never Been So Happy!!
    • shooting

      I hope you and your daughter enjoy it. And thanks for sharing your favorite MG. I will have to check it out.

  5. I remember reading Number the Stars when I was young, it was such a powerful book. I’ve heard great things about Inside Out and Back Again, that is one I plan to check out soon.

  6. Jen

    Our family has read and love Number the stars, but thank you for sharing these others! I am excited to add them to my daughters Kindle list 🙂

    • shooting

      I’m glad you enjoy MG and young YA! There are some great ones, and hopefully if you try any of these, you’ll enjoy them too.

  7. Brianna Beers

    I would love to win this giveaway because I love reading with my son cuddling up in the living room on the couch with a blanket and reading our favorite books together

  8. These picks sound lovely. I’ve only read Number the Stars — a long time ago. Lois Lowry was a favorite in general back in the day. I should read some newer releases though! Glad to see so much more diversity in books, though there can always be more.

    • shooting

      There can definitely always be more diversity, but it’s a start! I hope you find some modern MG books to enjoy!

Leave a Reply

(Enter your URL then click here to include a link to one of your blog posts.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.